Autonomous Sailboat Racing


TL;DR Do you want to race autonomous model sailboats against other hackerspaces?
sailboatrace
WHAT:
An autonomous model sailboat race. In September, think|haus would sponsor a race on Hamilton Harbour. Each hackerspace would enter a boat. If your space is extremely enthusiastic, maybe enter more than one. The rules would be simple: boats no more than 2m in length, must be powered by the wind only. 3 buoys would be placed in the Harbour setting out a triangular course. Teams would be provided the GPS co-ordinates of the 3 buoys. Boats must make it around the course without any remote control – telemetry & video links would be permitted, but no control links. Attacking other boats would not be permitted (though that may be an idea for another side competition – robot wars, boat edition).
think|haus would provide a chase boat to go out & retrieve any model sailboat that got into trouble. We’d also host a BBQ party afterwards.
WHY:
Well, I like sailing, and it’s my idea, so there’s that. But also, the project has roles for the electronics types, the software types, and the mechanical types who would have to all work together on a common fun project. It would likely involve laser cutting, 3D printing, woodworking, sewing, microcontroller programming, and maybe vacuum forming, fiberglass work, etc. so there would be lots of opportunity to get everyone involved regardless of skill level. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want – stick a dowel with sail made from a plastic bag  in a big hunk of foam, or meticulously model a rigid wing carbon fiber hydrofoiling catamaran – it depends on what your team wants to do.
The main reason why, though, is to have fun working on a project together over the summer, learn new things, and have a good day outdoors followed by food & beverage.
So: interested? Ideas? Suggestions? Please let us know what you think.

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